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back to article Boffins probe into moons – and associated rings – 'beyond snow line'

Saturn's rings have been knocking around the galaxy since around the time our Solar System was born, NASA's Cassini spacecraft has shown. Though not in ring form the whole time, obviously. Extreme brightness dichotomy on the surface of Saturn moon Iapetus The extreme brightness dichotomy of Saturn moon Iapetus. Credit: NASA/JPL …

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Angel

Yeah but..

..can someone explain to me why the rings are flat instead of doughnut shaped.

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Re: Yeah but..

Someone forgot the leavening agent?

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Yeah but..

Assume they were thicker - the particles outside the equatorial plane would have to cross it twice an orbit; they cannot just stay on one side. As a result, such particles would pass through the thicker bits twice an orbit, and drag from gasses and dust (and collisions with larger than dust sized objects) would eventually remove the "up and down" part of their orbital velocity, leaving them in the equatorial plane.

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Re: Yeah but..

Gravity.

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Boffin

Re: Yeah but..

That's why the major palnetary bodies *generally* orbit in the same plane, there is currently more variation in orbital inclination as there is much more space to play in, and thus takes a lot longer for the collisions to create a truly flat ecliptic plane. The principle is the same though.

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Joke

Clearly all this science boffinry is bunkus.

God created the universe. God created Saturn. And he liked it. So he put a ring on it.

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Joke

@Velv

I agree, God created us to his image, And as can be proved, we like to put rings almost everywhere, so it is no wonder he but some rings around some planets too. Big scale stuff, of course, obviously.

Still there are funny guys like this one, without a clue about reality.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=R_wXEjQ1kdU

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Coat

Is that...

... a Monolith I see...?

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Re: Is that...

Only in the first novel.

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Re: Is that...

It's burned toast.

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...but when will they explain...

...the rings around Uranus?

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Re: ...but when will they explain...

They came from a Brown Star.

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Re: ...but when will they explain...

Damn these Space Nazis.

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Coat

Space Nazis?

That was damn quick for Godwins Law!

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